Sunday, 7 June 2015

CONNOISSEUR - Stoner Violence (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: June 09th 2015
Label: Tankcrimes

Stoner Violence - Track Listing:

1.Circle Of Heads 03:18
2.Pot Hole 00:55
3.The Camper 00:25
4.No Dice 00:25
5.Full Blown Marijuana Addict 03:44
6.I Am The Weed 01:40
7.(Destroy The) Smoke Machines 04:40
8.Sweet Buddies 01:13
9.Brick Weed 00:23
10.Machinegun Grenade 00:19
11.Orc Summer 02:01
12.New Amsterdam 03:28
13.Smells Like Teen Dispirit 01:18
14.Ashes 07:17


Likening themselves to Earth Crisis if they “smoked weed and listened to Spazz,” the Smokeland, California-based trio, CONNOISSEUR, deafens the weak with an upbeat/d-beat barrage of West Bay powerviolence packed with resin-coated sludgedowns and chronically brutal, comically cheeba-charged vocal onslaughts that consume the listener in a violently stoned, inescapable haze.

Band Members:

Dan: guitar
Carlos: vocals
Lyle: drums


From the glorious artwork, the album name, the title of pretty much all the songs and from paying a visit or two to the bands Facbeook page, I think it's fair to say that Connoisseur are a band that have enjoyed the odd jazz cigarette in their time. This is very much a stoner's record, but what it's not is another typical record from the huge array of BongWitchMountainGoat bands that appear to be cropping up here there and everywhere at present.

As the first track "Circle Of Heads" comes leaping out of the blocks it's apparent that this isn't going to be another typical weed themed record. Starting with an almost punk approach the guitars and drums take off at a break neck pace and pretty much stay there. More of the same during the minute long second track "Pot Hole" as the drums build into a wall of double bass and tom fills. More of the same on the next track "The Camper". The first time I listened to the record the song had ended before I even realised it had begun!

Not until we hit the track "Full Blown Marijuana Addict" (another subtle reference!) do we see Connoisseur slow things down. A little. In fact the next two tracks "I Am The Weed" and "(Destroy the) Smoke Machine both keep the tempo a little slower, and to my mind both have an almost hardcore feel to them. Imagine if you will Hatebreed if they were pissed off about a bad weed supply, rather than, well.. whatever it is they are actually pissed off about.

The next three tracks, "Sweet Buddies" "Brick Weed" and "Machinegun Grenade" revert to the more punk approach of the first few tracks. In fact so punk that these three songs barely manage a minute combined. This is a seriously quick and aggressive record. As the tempos build the vocals become more and more enraged to the point where I actually had to stop listening to this in enclosed spaces for fear of what I might do. As we move towards the conclusion of the record Connoisseur play about with tempos a bit more and switch between the frenetic punk energy of the earlier tracks and the more deliberate pounding rhythms from the middle section.

Last track "Ashes" is a little different. Clocking in at a touch over 7 minutes it shows a slightly more patient approach to things. Largely instrumental bar some samples at the start it's a bold and confident way to close the album. I'm unsure if that's what they intended or were just so high they forgot to stop playing after the 2 minute mark. Either way it works for me and closes an excellent record.

I loved the production throughout the record, balancing a fine line between polished yet raw which gives the whole thing a nice live feel to it. Not a band I was familiar with before and maybe not a record I would have sought out to listen to, but after living with this for a while they've definitely made a new fan in me.

Words by Simon Ross Williams

Thanks To Earsplit PR or the promo. Stoner Violence is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Tankcrimes from June 9th 2015

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